A Day in the Life of a Children's Hospice Nurse

Tell us about how you got into the role you are in today, was it something you always wanted to do?

Tell us about how you got into the role you are in today, was it something you always wanted to do?

Working at the children’s hospice is a dream job for me. When I was completing my Learning Disability Nursing degree, I absolutely loved getting opportunities to work with children that had complex health needs. I applied for the job in hospice shortly after I graduated, and I cried with happiness when I got the phone call to say I had been successful at interview! I was soon to be married, and so three days after I returned from my honeymoon in April 2019, I started my new post.

What does a typical shift look like for you in the Children's Hospice, what does it entail?

One of the things I love about my job is that every day is so different. At the hospice we provide respite care for children that have life limiting/life threatening conditions. We also have the privilege of providing specialist palliative and end of life care. Being able to support families at such a delicate time in their lives is something very special. A typical day at the hospice includes joy, teamwork, and always making sure that the children are at the heart of everything we do.

It can be emotionally challenging for various reasons; however, we are a strong team and since I began working at the hospice I have felt so supported and well looked after by my peers. We all have difficult days, and after all we are only human. I find that getting out into the fresh air on my days off really helps – especially going to the beach for some sea air. I am also very lucky to have a supportive husband and my gorgeous little dachshund Pearl to come home to after a busy shift.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

There really are so many rewarding aspects to my job. Seeing how much of a difference the children’s hospice makes to all of our children and families truly makes the tough days worthwhile. For me, the most rewarding part of my job is whenever I see the children happy and content. For each child, their happiness is manifested in different ways. For one child it can mean something as simple as a settled night’s sleep, and for another it can mean a day filled with playing practical jokes on the staff members, and doing back to back activities. It is a very special place to work.

How has the Hospice adapted since the pandemic?

At the hospice we have had to adapt in many areas of our daily practice. For myself as a nurse I have had to adhere to and help to implement lots of changes, and removing my face mask after a 13-hour shift is a wonderful feeling. We have adapted many aspects of the care we provide in order to keep our children and families safe. Like all other healthcare settings, we have had to put measures and restrictions in place, however we have tried our best to adapt activities and routines in order to not compromise the care that is provided. For example, instead of our music therapists coming in to provide sessions with the children, we have been able to facilitate Zoom sessions which the children have really seemed to enjoy. The staff team have all pulled together and I feel that we have definitely helped each other through this past year.

What is the biggest misconception you think people have about the Children's Hospice?

Whenever I tell people where I work, their most common response is “is it not really sad?”, or “I don’t know how you do that”. The reality, however, is that the children’s hospice is one of the most uplifting and joy filled places I have ever been to. Of course, there are times where there is sadness, but throughout all that we do, we aim to focus on the present, helping children and their families along each stage of their journey. One thing which holds great importance at the hospice is memory making , allowing children and their families to have quality time together whilst we provide practical care and support.  I am very proud to be a hospice nurse.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learnt working at the hospice?

Working at the hospice has taught me to appreciate life so much more, and to not take anything for granted. Over the past couple of years, I have met some of the bravest and most courageous children. My job challenges me to make the most of life and to always be thankful for the little things.

To view our upcoming vacancies, please visit: www.nihospice.org/careers

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